MLB: Players gave up millions for the right to sue; will it work?

On Monday evening, the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) voted to reject the latest owners’ offer of 60 games and full prorated salary, a guaranteed $25 million in playoff pools in 2020, $33 million in forgiven salary advances that would increase the take home pay of 61% of Major League players, and the universal DH for two years.

They turned that down to retain the right to sue MLB owners for not acting in “good faith” during negotiations. And they may have a case.

MLB Network Jon Heyman said the MLBPA believes it can win $900,000 to $1 billion in an unfair labor practice grievance against owners, who have been accused of “stalling to assure a shorter return-to-play season.”

However, former MLB player and current MLB Network host Harold Reynolds thinks that the players won’t win a hypothetical grievance.

“The grievance, they’re going to lose. That’s just the way I see it,” he said, on the basis of the fact that players demanded full prorated salaries and eventually were offered that last week.

“Any judge is going to say (Manfred) acted in good faith,” Reynolds predicted in his analysis. “He met you where you wanted to be met at. I think you’re talking about filing a grievance on something that’s very dicey.”

What will MLB players do?

And the fact that Commissioner Rob Manfred mandated a 60-game season may work in the owners’ favor.

“I think that they feel they have a chance with the grievance,” Heyman said on MLB Tonight. “I’m not a lawyer. I’m not sure that they do. We only have time for 60 games. But I hear that the union believes the grievance is up to $1 billion. Thirty-five (more) games or so would be $900,000. They feel it was perhaps stalled by 35 games. I’m not sure that the likelihood that they win that grievance.”

The season is expected to begin on July 24, with players reporting to camp on July 1st. That is if players approve health and safety protocols.